A content gap analysis is the process of discovering new content opportunities for your website. Topics/keywords in your niche that you’re not currently not covering or are not being covered efficiently. The most common way to do a content gap analysis is look at what your competitors are ranking for in relation to what your site is ranking for.
A content gap analysis traditionally forms part of an overall content audit. However, a content audit may only be done once or twice a year depending on the velocity of your site, but a content gap analysis can be done far more frequently than this.
Discovering keywords your competitors are ranking for
Firstly, you’ll need to make use of an SEO tool to conduct this analysis. We use Ahrefs (not an affiliate link). Ahrefs offer a Content Gap as one of their core platform features. The premise of the feature is to find keywords that your competitors rank for, but your website isn’t ranking for (outside the top 100 search results).
You want to start by going to the Site Explorer section in Ahrefs and pop your website domain into the box. We’ve gone with our root domain because our blog content hangs off it, but if your blog content appends to a blog subdomain or suffix such as blog then be sure to include this. Next, hit the search button.
Next, you’ll want to cast your eye toward the menu tab on the left and click on Content Gap.
On the Content Gap page you’ll have the opportunity to input the names of your competitors domains. Ahrefs requires that you input a minimum of three competitors. Remember that because this we’re specifically at blog content in this gap analysis be sure to include the URL string of your competitors that qualifies this.
In the case of Verblio and Content Crowd you see that their blog content sits on the suffix blog where as Scripted’s blog content sits on the root domain like ours. If you’re not sure of who your competitors are, you can use the Competing Domains feature which can also be found on the left-hand menu tab in Ahrefs.
Next, hit the Show keywords button. From there a new page will render with a list of all the keywords our competitors are ranking for and we are not ranking for. The three competitors are listed on the right under the title Highest position.
The devil is in the details
As you can see, over 1,000 keywords were identified. They are sorted by search volume with the KD (keyword difficulty) score being shown in the column to the right. Now a lot of them won’t be relevant for many different reasons. They may be brand specific keywords, or they may sit outside of our niche. However, by thoroughly scrolling through the results you should be able to find some relevant and opportunistic keywords.
In this example, we’ve found the term “word choice” as well as LSI keywords “what is word choice in writing”, “word choice definition”, and “what is word choice”. They have an average KD score of 8 which we consider to be relatively. Moreover they amount to a total monthly search volume of 8,150.
This presents a fantastic opportunity for us to write a great piece of content on this topic, and with the right SEO formula we could rank this article within the next 6-12 months. Remember SEO is a long term play.
In this article we’ve shown you step by step how to find out the keywords your competitors are ranking that you are not ranking for. The content gap analysis does however have a few other uses cases. These include using it as part of a content refresh – looking at existing pieces of content to see if there are additional, semantically related keywords that you could also be targeting and ranking for.
The other use case is for consolidating content. The involves using the tool to find articles that are ranking for the same or similar search terms. Based on a range of criteria you can then make an informed decision on whether its worthwhile consolidating the two articles into one longer and ostensibly more authoritative piece.